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This is the last article in a series about forming children for active participation in the Mass.
The word Mass comes from “missa est” (Latin for “it is sent”). The dismissal formula variations in the Roman Missal are meaningful.
These convey a clear sense of mission. The command “Go” is what we respond to, not just the fact Mass is over. Our “Thanks be to God” is quite simply our acceptance of the mission Christ gave us—to spread the Gospel in word and deed out in the world in every situation we face in daily life. Disciples of Christ should be distinguished by how they live that mission.
Living the way of the cross is inevitable. The Lenten journey begins with a reminder of our own mortality: “From dust we came and to dust we shall return.” Not one of us, as they say, escapes this journey alive. Death is the universal end of our earthly lives, and every one of us, if we live long enough, dies smaller deaths along the way.
These are the moments that can most try our faith—the fears, grief, and failures that pockmark the road and cause us to stumble or to crumble. An accident. A cancer diagnosis. Abuse. Betrayal. Divorce. Broken dreams. Every one of us carries a burden, often in secret. We put on a brave face.
by Darcy Osby
When I was little, my mother would give up all sweets during Lent and Advent. As a dutiful Catholic child, I did as well. This practice led to many school snack times and birthday parties during which I would humbly decline the offer of cookies, cupcakes, and candy—careful not to be like the hypocrites who look gloomy or boast while they are fasting. Whenever I was tempted by the sugary treats, I would pray fervently, offering up my sacrifice to God. This seasonal experience was essential to the development of my young spirituality into adulthood. When I recently told my mother about my experience in imitating her fasting, she exclaimed jokingly, “Wow! I just like losing a few pounds before the holidays!”
by Eric Gurash
The Daily Examen or Awareness Examen is a reflective, prayerful spiritual practice that comes to us from the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola. Its simple premise—that we can with practice become more consciously aware of God’s activity in our lives—makes it a great prayer for young and old. If you’re looking for a fun, interactive way to introduce young people to this wonderful spiritual practice, consider taking up the following challenge for a week, and start to become aware of Jesus in all the moments of the day.
What are your favorite Lenten resources to use in parish settings? Here are some ideas for observing Lent with your faith formation groups.
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